Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for December 10th, 2007

Glow in the dark stuff—for 12 years

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And it’s inexpensive, to boot. (The cost to light up 8½ x 11 piece of plastic 1/8” thick with Litrospheres is about .35 cents.)

Bike glowing

GlowPaint glow-in-the-dark paint company, MPK Co., has come up with self-luminous micro particles called Litrospheres™ which they say are inexpensive, non-toxic, and will stay on for 12+ years (half-life point) continuously — without having to be plugged into any power source. It is a betavoltaic technology, using a radioactive gas, whose “soft” emission of electrons from the beta emitting gas cannot penetrate the glass or polymer wall of the microspheres. [see comment – LG]

The Litrospheres™ are not effected by heat or cold, and are 5,000-pound crush resistant. They can be injection molded or added to paint. The fill rate of Litroenergy micro particles in plastic injection molding material or paint is about 20%. The constant light gives off no U.V. rays, and can be designed to emit almost any color of light desired.

The company seeks to mass produce this mateiral and supply OEMs.

“This has potential to save billions in energy costs world-wide. Litroenergy™ surpasses all known available lighting options for cost/durability/reliability and safety.” — Steve Stark, MPK Co.

More at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2007 at 5:18 pm

Apple-cider vinegar

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Some studies suggest it helps, according to WebMD:

There are some medical uses of vinegar that do have promise, at least according to a few studies. Here’s a rundown of some more recent ones.

  • Diabetes. The effect of vinegar on blood glucose levels is perhaps the best-researched and the most promising of apple cider vinegar’s possible health benefits. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower glucose levels. For instance, one 2007 study of 11 people with type 2 diabetes found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4%-6%.
    However, the study was done in rats, so it’s too early to know how it might work in people.
  • High cholesterol. A 2006 study found evidence that vinegar could lower cholesterol.
  • Blood pressure and heart health. Another study in rats found that vinegar could lower high blood pressure. A large epidemiological study also found that people who ate oil and vinegar dressing on salads five to six times a week had lower rates of heart disease than people who didn’t. However, it’s far from clear that the vinegar was the reason.
  • Cancer. A few laboratory studies have found that vinegar may be able to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. Epidemiological studies of people have been confusing. One found that eating vinegar was associated with a decreased risk of esophageal cancer. Another associated it with an increased risk of bladder cancer.
  • Weight Loss. For thousands of years, vinegar has been used for weight loss. White vinegar (and perhaps other types) might help people feel full. A 2005 study of 12 people found that those who ate a piece of bread along with small amounts of white vinegar felt fuller and more satisfied than those who just ate the bread.

While the results of these studies are promising, they are all preliminary. Many were done on animals or on cells in a lab. The human studies have been small. Before we will truly know whether vinegar has any health benefits, much larger studies are needed.

UPDATE: Risks:

On the whole, the risks of taking occasional, small amounts of apple cider vinegar seem low. But using apple cider vinegar over the long term, or in larger amounts, could have risks.  Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Apple cider vinegar is highly acidic.  The main ingredient of apple cider vinegar is acetic acid. As the name suggests, it’s quite harsh.  Apple cider vinegar should always be diluted with water or juice before swallowed.  Pure apple cider vinegar could damage the tooth enamel and the tissues in your throat and mouth.  One study found a woman who got an apple cider vinegar supplement stuck in her throat.  She seemed to have suffered lasting damage to her esophagus.  Vinegar has been known to cause contact burns to the skin.
  • Long-term use of apple cider vinegar could cause low potassium levels and lower bone density.  If you already have low potassium or osteoporosis, talk to your doctor before using apple cider vinegar.
  • Apple cider vinegar could theoretically interact with diuretics, laxatives, and medicines for diabetes and heart disease.
  • If you have diabetes, check with your doctor before using apple cider vinegar.  Vinegar contains chromium, which can alter your insulin levels.

Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2007 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health

Gang-rape immunity

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I wasn’t going to blog this because it’s so depressing, but it does provide insight into how poorly things are managed and run by the CPA and the US in Iraq:

A Houston, Texas woman says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident.

Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.

“Don’t plan on working back in Iraq. There won’t be a position here, and there won’t be a position in Houston,” Jones says she was told.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court against Halliburton and its then-subsidiary KBR, Jones says she was held in the shipping container for at least 24 hours without food or water by KBR, which posted armed security guards outside her door, who would not let her leave.

“It felt like prison,” says Jones, who told her story to ABC News as part of an upcoming “20/20” investigation. “I was upset; I was curled up in a ball on the bed; I just could not believe what had happened.”

Finally, Jones says, she convinced a sympathetic guard to loan her a cell phone so she could call her father in Texas.

“I said, ‘Dad, I’ve been raped. I don’t know what to do. I’m in this container, and I’m not able to leave,'” she said. Her father called their congressman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas.

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Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2007 at 2:16 pm

The Mediterranean Diet seems to work

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Take a look:

It’s a new twist on an old theme, but new research shows once again that diet and exercise are the keys to a longer, healthier life. Two new studies based on a large U.S. diet and health survey demonstrate the benefits of exercise and diet in reducing health risks and prolonging life.

The first shows people who follow a Mediterranean-style diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy oils, such as those found in fish, olives, and nuts, were less likely to die of cancer, heart disease, or any other cause over a five-year period.

The second shows people who engaged in moderate exercise like walking for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week, as recommended by national guidelines, were 27% less likely to die during the study than non-exercisers. Even a smaller amount of exercise produced benefits in reducing the risk of death over the short-term, but those healthy benefits increased with more frequent and vigorous exercise.

The studies, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, were both based on data collected from the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study involving 566,407 AARP members aged 50 to 71 in six states who filled out diet and exercise questionnaires between 1995 and 1996.

In the first study, researcher Panagiota N. Mitrou, PhD, currently of the University of Cambridge, England, and colleagues looked at the effect of the Mediterranean diet on the risk of death over five years.

This diet has gained in popularity in recent years thanks to research that shows countries that follow the diet, rich in fruit and vegetables and low in saturated fat, have lower rates of heart disease and other health problems.

This study confirmed those healthy effects and showed men and women who followed a Mediterranean diet were 20% less likely to die from any cause during the study.

In the second study, researcher Michael F. Leitzmann, MD, DrPH, of the National Cancer Institute, and colleagues compared the risk of dying during the study to rates of exercise.

The results showed that people who were moderately active for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week were 27% less likely to die than those that were inactive. But the health benefits of exercise increased with more vigorous activity. Those who engaged in vigorous activity had a 32% lower risk of death during the study; a level of physical activity that was less than recommended was linked to a 19% lower death risk.

Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2007 at 2:13 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health, Science

Australia, Ireland… who’s next?

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It’s been proposed in the California legislature, but not so far (I think) enacted. But Ireland has outlawed incandescent light bulbs:

In a bold and laudable move, Ireland has just announced plans to ban the sale of incandescent light-bulbs by the year 2009. This makes it the first European nation to outlaw the old energy hogging bulbs.

John Gormley, the Minister for the Department of the Environment states: “The aim of such a move will be to end the use of incandescent light bulbs in Ireland. These bulbs use technology invented during the age of the steam engine. By getting rid of these bulbs we will save 700,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. It has been estimated that consumers will save €185 million in electricity costs every year as a result of the measure.”

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Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2007 at 10:40 am

Religion and the candidates

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Good column by Tim Rutten:

The American press habitually handles stories involving religion with all the dexterity of a surgeon wearing mittens. Still, it was hard to read this week’s accounts of religion’s role in the race for the Republican presidential nomination without feeling that some unseen and clumsy hand had sent us all stumbling right through the looking glass.

Start with the fact that nearly all this week’s political coverage focused on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and the speech he gave in Texas on Thursday, asking voters not to reject his candidacy because he’s a Mormon. Much of the media response to that address was built on superficial, mostly misleading comparisons to John F. Kennedy’s landmark 1960 address before Protestant clergymen hostile to his Catholicism. What was missing was any discussion of the numerous and very legitimate questions that ought to be asked about religion and the candidacy of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, whose surging popularity in Iowa sent Romney to the podium in the first place.

Romney, after all, simply does what most religiously affiliated Americans do; he practices the faith into which he was born. Huckabee, by contrast, is a Baptist minister. Has the notion of distinct temporal and spiritual spheres — each with its proper concerns and distinct competency — really been so utterly obliterated that the political press simply shrugs at this? Doesn’t anybody think it’s worth asking whether it’s proper or even desirable for a clergyman to occupy the White House?

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Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2007 at 10:13 am

Posted in Election, GOP

Excellent point…

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The deck is stacked, ladies and gentlemen, and the dealer is crooked:

Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2007 at 9:55 am

Posted in Media

Molly, lost in thought

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Molly

Molly, sitting and pondering. Molly sleeps with The Wife, facing her, almost nose to nose. The Wife sleeps with her hands up near her face, and after Molly settles down she tucks her paw into The Wife’s hands, so they can sleep holding hands.

Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2007 at 9:49 am

Posted in Cats, Molly

Adolescents: skip breakfast, get fat

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Watch out:

In a study involving data collected from 25,176 Dutch adolescents (ages 13-16 years), skipping breakfast was found to be strongly associated with overweight and obesity. Subjects were in two grade brackets – grade 2, consisting of 13-14 years olds, and grade 4, consisting of 15-16 year olds. For the 3 factors analyzed – skipping breakfast, alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity – skipping breakfast was found to have the strongest association with overweight and obesity. Specifically, among the 13-14 year olds, the adjusted odds ratio for being overweight was 2.17 for skipping breakfast, 1.86 for alcohol consumption, and 1.73 for physical inactivity. Statistically significant associations were also found for adolescents aged 15-16 years. Dose-response relations were found for all 3 risk factors and overweight. Multivariate models considering all 3 risk factors found skipping breakfast to have the strongest relation with overweight (OR=1.68 for ages 13-14 and 1.32 f or ages 15-16) and obesity. The results of this study suggest that eating breakfast regularly may help to prevent overweight and obesity in adolescents.

“Skipping breakfast, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity as risk factors for overweight and obesity in adolescents: results of the E-MOVO project,” Croezen S, Visscher TL, et al, Eur J Clin Nutr, 2007 Nov 28; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8129, Wageningen, the Netherlands. E-mail: simone.croezen@wur.nl ).

Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2007 at 9:27 am

Posted in Daily life, Health

Iron supplementation to help ADHD

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Interesting finding:

In a randomized, placebo-controlled study involving 23 non-anemic children (aged 5-8 years) with serum ferritin levels less than 30 ng/ml, who met DSM-IV criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), results indicate that iron supplementation may improve symptoms of ADHD. The children were randomized to oral supplementation with iron (as ferrous sulfate, 80 mg/day; n = 18) or placebo (n = 5) for a period of 12 weeks. A progressive significant decrease in the ADHD Rating Scale along with a significant decrease in mean Clinical Global Impression-Severity was observed in the iron-supplemented group alone. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Iron supplementation (80 mg/day) appeared to improve ADHD symptoms in children with low serum ferritin levels suggesting a need for future investigations with larger controlled trials. Iron therapy was well tolerated and effectiveness is comparable to stimulants.”

“Effects of Iron Supplementation on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children,” Konofal E, Arnulf I, et al, Pediatr Neurol, 2007; 38(1): 20-26. (Address: Hôpital Robert Debré, Service de Psychopathologie de l’Enfant et de l’Adolescent, Paris, France; Hôpital Pitié Salpetrière, Fédération des Pathologies du Sommeil, APHP, Paris, France).

Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2007 at 9:14 am

Posted in Daily life

Have you tried Wrike yet?

with 3 comments

I blogged about Wrike earlier, and one commenter has now given it a go and is impressed. He writes:

 I can say it’s an excellent solution! It’s not perfect, but so far it seems to be the best one on the Web. I couldn’t find anything like this using Basecamp and others. I’ve been using the tool for a month now and I can tell the difference. It saves much time to me and my team. Clients love it, because it’s simple and they don’t have to learn anything. The best thing about Wrike is that I can share different parts of my workspace with different people, so I can have my personal plans in there too. Have you used it? I’d be interested to know other users experiences with Wrike.

Anyone else tried it? How did you like it?

Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2007 at 9:00 am

Posted in Business, Software

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At last: signs of common sense with drug laws

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This is good news, IMHO:

The Supreme Court today said judges may impose shorter prison terms for crack cocaine crimes, enhancing judicial discretion to reduce the disparity between sentences for crack and cocaine powder.

By a 7-2 vote, the court said that a 15-year sentence given to Derrick Kimbrough, a black veteran of the 1991 war with Iraq, was acceptable, even though federal sentencing guidelines called for Kimbrough to receive 19 to 22 years.

In a separate sentencing case that did not involve crack cocaine, the court also ruled in favor of judicial discretion to impose more lenient sentences than federal guidelines recommend.

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Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2007 at 8:44 am

Posted in Drug laws, Government

A shave of two parts

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The first part was great: QED’s Mocha-Java shave stick, rubbed vigorously against the grain of the two-day stubble, and then Simpsons Emperor 3 Super, rather wet, brushed all over my beard, creating a luxurious and fragrant lather. I’m liking the Emperor 3 all over again.

I used a new Gillette NEW—new to me, but also scarcely used at all, so far as I can tell. Plated silver, it’s a wonderful razor. And a new Gillette Silver Blue blade which, this morning, wasn’t quite sharp enough for me. So that was the so-so part of the shave. The four passes did produce a smooth visage, but not so pleasurable as it might have been.

Coty’s Raw Vanilla aftershave, and I have my coffee beside me.

Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2007 at 8:33 am

Posted in Shaving

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